China’s BYD said on Monday it would start selling its first battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in Japan by early 2023.
The move is part of the world’s largest EV maker’s plan to either sell or make its cars available across major markets.
BYD’s Japanese division said it will roll out an electric sports utility vehicle, ATTO 3, starting January 31. The car has a cruising distance of 485 kilometres and will cost 4.4 million yen ($32,735.66).
In comparison, Nissan Motor‘s electric Leaf standard model has a cruising range of 322 kilometres and costs about 3.7 million yen.
Japan is one of the most competitive car markets in the world and is still seen as a stronghold for fossil fuel-powered vehicles. Car buyers in the country have remained slow in adopting EVs and are known to have a preference for domestic carmakers.
Nine tenths of the five million cars sold annually in Japan are from domestic firms such as Toyota, Honda and Nissan.
However, the share of the battery-driven vehicles is expected to grow, partly due to non-Japanese automakers like BYD and Volkswagen making their way into the market.
More EVs to come
BYD’s Japan chapter is planning to introduce two more models by the end of 2023 and more than 100 dealerships in Japan by the end of 2025, the company said.
The Chinese EV-maker is planning to set up tentative retailers starting late January in 22 cities but is eager to cover all 47 prefectures, said Atsuki Tofukuji, BYD Auto Japan Inc chief executive.
“We hope that we can make our presence felt little by little as we work toward carbon neutrality and as our customers demand a variety of choices,” he said.
- Reuters, with additional editing by Vishakha Saxena